Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Great Falling Away - Every Church a Hard Hat Zone?

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,(2 Thessalonians 2:3)
Sometimes I read the prophesys and wonder "Why do you have to be so accurate?" Maybe the better question is "Why should I be here now?" I don't like Ugly, and it's getting really Ugly out there; false gospels preached in order for the minister to become more popular, sins are being accepted as "life choices" in order for that particular church to appear "inclusive",  perversions of the bible are being produced to make sin appear to be a virtue. Maybe I would have been happier in the late 18th to early 19th century when  men were men, Christianity was Christianity, and locomotives burned coal and boiled water.

Two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul prophesied that there would be "the apostasy" or a great falling away from the word of God before the appearance of the beast as prophesied in the book of Revelation. If you look with discernment fortified with knowledge of scripture you'll see the falling away as it happens. We're not just talking about daughters of satan dancing naked in the moonlight swearing allegiance to "the old religion" (that goes all the way back to the 1950's), nor are we simply talking about evangelical atheists whose highest form of worship is treating themselves to Starbucks as a reward for swearing at a Christian school child. Our biggest problem is within the church itself. 

We must first and foremost we must clean up our churches because that's where judgement will come first:
For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:7)
Some signs of the apostasy are glaring, like Rick Bell teaching a false doctrine of universal salvation, or Eugene Peterson perverting the word of God with his heretical "The Message" bible satire. We should run from these and not stop distancing ourselves from them. But at the local level we need a checklist to see if our churches are adhering to scripture - is our doctrine pure to the word of God? because if we deviate from the Gospel then we distance ourselves from Jesus. Here's a short list of essentials, things our salvation is depended on. These are the important to things to look for:

Do we believe:
  • that Jesus is both God and man (1 John 4:1-4)
  • that Jesus physically rose from the dead (John 2:19-21)
  • that salvation is through grace and faith (Eph 2:8-9)
  • that the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:1-4)
  • that there is only one God (Ex 20:1-3)
  • that the one God is three persons in the holy Trinity
  • that Jesus was born of virgin birth
These are the the essentials of our Christian beliefs; we cannot deny them and still call ourselves Christians. The first five are explicitly stated in scripture and cannot be debated, this is what our beliefs are founded on. If your church deviates from any of these, go get a new church. Now. Your salvation is in jeopardy.

This next group is the primary non-essentials. They're beliefs on the Bible, church practices, and church ordinances. Failure to follow them does not jeopardize our salvation but failure does point toward apostasy, which when you start down that slippery slope will jeopardize your salvation eventually

Do we believe:
This last group are secondary non-essentials, belief or non-belief does not effect salvation nor does it lead toward apostasy. Freely discuss, explore and debate these (with love):
  • Baptism for adults or infants
  • Predestination, election, and free will
  • Communion: Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly? 
  • Saturday or Sunday worship
  • Worship: traditional? contemporary? 
  • Pretribulation rapture, midtribulation rapture, posttribulation rapture
  • Premillennialism, amillennialism, and post millennialism
There's a lot more secondary non-essentials that can be listed but be careful with them, they have been known to fracture congregations so debate with love and keep in mind they are the non-essentials.

Apostasy is around us in varying degrees, and as believers we must cling to the scriptures with fierce tenacity, to ignore those who would tickle our ears to lure us away from the love and protection of Christ. If you have a conflict on what is essential and what is not then read your bible. The bible is very clear on what is essential and what is not. When Christ said "do this in memory of me" the bible is stating that communion is important, but He didn't say "do this in memory of me at least quarterly". The bible is clear when it says that the wages of sin is death, don't you think that means a little fire and brimstone is appropriate from the pulpit on occasion? If your pastor is only preaching about love, joy, community, why not ask him for a little "shake and bake" on occasion to remind us that Romans 6:23 is true.

Then again, if your church is considering hiring a female pastor would the question be appropriate "Besides First Timothy, what other books of the bible are we going to ignore?"

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